Download The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine Audiobook

The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine Audiobook, by Yousef Bashir Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Yousef Bashir Narrator: Yousef Bashir Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2019 ISBN: 9780062939524
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A Palestinian-American activist recalls his adolescence in Gaza during the Second Intifada, and how he made a strong commitment to peace in the face of devastating brutality in this moving, candid, and transformative memoir that reminds us of the importance of looking beyond prejudice, anger, and fear.

Yousef Bashir’s story begins in Gaza, on a verdant ten-acre farm beside an Israeli settlement and military base. When the soccer-mad Yousef was eleven, the Second Intifada exploded. First came the shooting, then the occupation. Ordered to leave their family home, Yousef’s father refused, even when the Israeli soldiers moved in, seizing the top two floors. For five long years, three generations of the Bashir family were virtual prisoners in their own home. Despite this, Yousef’s father—a respected Palestinian schoolteacher whose belief in coexisting peacefully with his Israeli neighbors was unshakeable—treated the soldiers as honored guests. His commitment to peace was absolute.

Though Yousef’s family attracted international media attention, and received letters of support from around the world, Yousef witnessed the destruction of his home, his neighborhood, and the happy life he had known with growing frustration and confusion. For the first time he wondered if his father’s belief in peace was justified and whether he was strong enough—or even wanted—to follow his example. At fifteen, that doubt was tested. Standing in his front yard with his father and three United Nations observers, he was shot in the spine by an Israeli soldier, leaving him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, for a year.

While an Israeli soldier shot him, it was Israeli doctors who saved Yousef and helped him eventually learn to walk again. In the wake of that experience, Yousef was forced to reckon with the words of his father. And like the generous, empathetic man who raised him, he too became an outspoken activist for peace.

Amid the tragedy of the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict, The Words of My Father is a powerful tale of moral awakening and a fraught, ferocious, and profound relationship between a son and his father. Bashir's story and the ideals of peace and empathy it upholds are a soothing balm for these dangerous and troubled times, and a reminder that love and compassion are a gift—and a choice.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] remarkable new memoir…Full of youthful exuberance, unlikely adventures, and raw discovery…Captivating.”

    New Yorker

  • “A work of profound spiritual beauty, one of the great memoirs to emerge from this terrible conflict. For Israelis like myself, reading Bashir’s story is a deeply wrenching experience. And yet, while I strongly disagree with some of his premises, I found myself feeling grateful to Bashir for his open heart and mind. The Words of My Father offers all of us hope that this seemingly intractable conflict can find a solution that is just to both sides.”

    Yossi Klein Halevi, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An inspiration to peace activists in all theaters of war and struggle and a book that deserves a wide audience.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “To experience love and humanity on many levels, read this story. Beautifully told by a young man whose voice deserves to be heard—even if the world is not yet ready to listen.”

    Diana Darke, author of My House in Damascus

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About the Author

Yousef Bashir is a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, the son of a respected educator. After moving to the United States, he earned a BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University and an MA in Co-existence and Conflict from Brandeis University. Now living in Washington DC, Bashir is a public speaker, author, and peace advocate. He currently works for the Palestinian Diplomatic Delegation to the United States.